The Turk’s Hat Dilemma

The Turk's Hat Dilemma

There is a series of paintings called Mexican Casta paintings, which reflect the various racial categories commonly recognized during the colonial era.  Versions of these categories seem to have been commonly used throughout the Americas at that time. In this painting, the union of a white “Espanol” with an albino woman results in children referred to as “negro torna atras” (black turns back), meaning that the woman’s African genes are expressed in the dark skinned children, even though she appears white.  For me it’s a window into a very weird world, but it apparently was commonplace at that time.  In this image, I’ve combined the casta painting with a painting of an apparently content and loving wealthy couple from the American colonies along with a peculiarly shaped inflatable water slide from the 4th of July celebration in Prescott, Arizona, replete with playing children and grandparents.

Mom and the Water Slide

x Mom and the Water Slide

Every 4th of July they set up these huge inflatable water slides on the lawn of a local school.  I thought it looked better this way..  Why do Baroque (and other periods) painters often have women, often naked, waving lengths of cloth in the air?  Were they happy? Sad? Signaling for a tailor to stitch them some clothing?